The New York Times Magazine recentlywondered at lengthif the long-prophecied Libertarian Moment had finally arrived. Why, just look at the prevailing attitudes in America: openness to same-sex marriage and liberalization of drug laws, aversion to long-term overseas military deployments (wars), and um Obama is unpopular so people hate government regulation now, maybe? Sure. Well, no. As we wrote, libertarianism as a package is going to be a hard sell to the public as long as it dismisses concerns over economic insecurity and insists upon dismantling the regulatory state and large social insurance programs. But hey, its great that libertarians and liberals have common ground on and are making headway in social and criminal justice policy.
Who would be the foot soldiers in this Libertarian Moment thats not really arriving? The usual, well-funded thinkers that have given the movement a disproportionately large voice within debates in Washington, D.C., for decades Reason magazine, the Cato Institute along with a few MTV VJs from the 90s. Also: Rand Paul! Rand Paul is the son of a libertarian and is sort of a libertarian himself and is going to be the next president, after all. And then America will finally be the sexy free-market rock n roll paradise of libertarians imagination. There is a plan, folks.
But any political movement is going to need more than just a few magazines and think tanks and a scion whose political future depends on the extent to which hes willing to water down his libertarianism. Meaning: Libertarianism needs a lot more libertarians. If libertarianism is going to be the wave of the future, a significant portion of the American populace should a) know what libertarianism is and then b) subscribe to it.
Right now that portion is 11 percent not nothing, but also 11 percent. Thats the figure according to Pew of Americans who both say they are libertarian and know the definition of the term.
Youd expect, then, that those who know what libertarianism is and call themselves libertarians would be broadly in favor of the whole ideological package: social liberalism, for lack of a better term, anti-police state, anti-interventionist, and hella anti-economic regulation and so forth small government, all around.
Thats not necessarily the case among those 11 percent, Pew finds. The 11 percent are, indeed, more likely than the public overall to say government aid to the poor does more harm than good by making people too dependent on government assistance, and somewhat more likely than the public overall to say government regulation of business does more harm than good.Theyre also more likely than the public overall to support legalizing marijuana.
But on cops and foreign policy? Self-identified libertarians-who-generally-know-what-libertarianism-is are a little more supportive than the public overall of letting police do whatever the hell they want and bombing everyone all the time (although the foreign policy question is spectacularly vague):
And they are about as likely as others to favor allowing the police to stop and search anyone who fits the general description of a crime suspect (42% of libertarians, 41% of the public).
Similarly, self-described libertarians do not differ a great deal from the public in opinions about foreign policy. Libertarianism is generally associated with a less activist foreign policy, yet a greater share of self-described libertarians (43%) than the public (35%) think it is best for the future of our country to be active in world affairs.
Pew ran another math-y thing to figure out which cluster, or political type, these self-identified libertarians are most closely aligned with. Youll never guess which cluster came out on top! It rhymes with Schmusiness Schmonservatives.
Read more from the original source:
Libertarians true identity revealed: Rich conservatives OK with gay people, basically